I had a letter in the post yesterday, from a firm of solicitors. It said "Dear Councillor Baldock" and was referenced "Defamation Services" and a feeling of dread swept over me.
It turned out to be a letter from Kirwan's in Water Street who have set up a political unit apparently, so large must be the demand from Merseyside politicians who are apparently defaming each other left, right and centre. They were merely alerting me to their services and one would hope they had written to lots of councillors, not just me, so that was okay after all.
But I was interested in the feeling of dread, what had brought that on?
Obviously my first gut reaction to the letter was that someone wanted to sue me.
Have I got a guilty conscience? No, I don't think so. I have not of course lived a blameless life, who of us has? Youthful indiscretions, sexual peccadilloes, few of us are entirely innocent. But I find that I often feel dread.
It is probably similar to something the police often experience, when they meet
perfectly innocent people who start going red in the face and shuffling about as though they are about to be found out - or head teachers calling pupils to their studies for the most benign of reasons.
I think it is something to do with being in the public eye, and in politics in particular there is a increased likelihood that one's opposition will find and create reasons to damange that public persona. So I live my life waiting for "the other shoe to drop". I have discussed this with other politicians and some do feel the same. When a journalist phones to ask for your views about a local issue perhaps, you wait for the opening sentence, you wait to hear the tone of the voice before you can decide if this is a harmless call or not. I have got over my fear of the police, because I talk to them every day and am very comfortable with them.
But I cannot shake off that feeling that I am going to be renounced and it does not seem to matter that I have not actually done anything!
I thought I might share that with you, I would be interested in any feedback